Leeds University Library

Liddle Collection Guide

Cards showing women doing war work


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The Liddle Collection documents and preserves first-hand accounts of individuals who experienced the two World Wars.

It was started privately in the early 1970s by the military historian Dr Peter Liddle and was established as part of Leeds University Special Collections in 1988. It is one of our Designated Collections.

The collection includes:

  • personal papers of well over 6,000 people who lived through the First World War, and over 500 who experienced the Second World War
  • photographs and drawings
  • official and unofficial papers
  • diaries and correspondence
  • over 1500 artefacts

The documents relate to anyone who was affected by war. This includes papers belonging to both men and women, those who were members of the armed forces and not, as well as non-British individuals.

How the collection is arranged

The Liddle Collection has three main sub-collections:

Each sub-collection is arranged into series, according to geographic area or nature of service. An individual's papers are kept together and listed by name under the relevant series heading.

The First World War sub-collection also contains over 750 tape-recorded and transcribed interviews of individuals talking about their experiences.

If you want to access the artefacts, Special Collections requires one week notice. Access to some of the artefacts is also subject to health and safety and conservation restrictions.

Printed Books

The archive is complemented by a printed book and pamphlet collection related to the First and Second world wars. These can be consulted in the Special Collections reading room.

Liddle Subject Indexes

The Liddle Collection indexes act as cross-references to the Liddle Collection.

Search the Liddle Collection Indexes

The WW1 Liddle General index is the largest, and contains over 600 subject index terms and over 12,500 unique entries.

There are further specific indexes that relate to other sections of the collection: Second World War; the Domestic Front and the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy.

Explore our online exhibition

If you're interested in the Liddle Collection, see our online exhibition of British First World War propaganda posters from the Liddle Collection.